Good Growth

How can the next mayor welcome new development that broadly benefits a neighborhood?


New York City has found clever ways to leverage private development to provide important neighborhood needs like open space, affordable housing, and landmarks maintenance. However, policies like zoning bonuses and special district designations benefit largely wealthy central neighborhoods. New development that delivers amenities in historically underinvested communities of color can heighten speculation and drive concerns of displacement. Without meaningful opportunities to guide development, many New Yorkers resist growth and development in all its forms.

  1. 10.

    Empower New Yorkers with tools to shape greater growth in partnership with private development.

    • Challenge: The relationship between residents and new development has been incredibly contentious in recent years with the collapse of major rezonings proposals from lack of community buy-in and fear of displacement.

    • Expand the use of Special Districts across New York City, enabling community boards, residents, and civic institutions more power to shape equitable development.

    • Create simpler earn-as-of-right development pathways in exchange for contributions into a Neighborhood Improvement Fund.

    • Enable development in wealthier districts to provide benefits in less advantaged neighborhoods.

  2. 11.

    Promote alternative private investment models that provide positive social and environmental benefits.

    • Challenge: The city's current logic of highest and best value prioritizes profit above social and environmental goals in a way that often drives community opposition.

    • Promote social impact real estate development so residents can reap the benefits of new growth.

    Case Study

    Los Angeles, CA – Nico Echo Park
  3. 12.

    Advocate for tax equity to relieve Black and minority homeowners.

    • Challenge: The City’s archaic property tax system creates geographic and racial inequality, often causing higher tax rates on homeowners in communities of color.

    • Overhaul the property tax system to lift the burden off of New York City’s minority and working-class homeowners.

These recommendations are authored by Urban Design Forum. We thank our advisors who provided helpful insights, suggestions, and guidance throughout the working group process.